We all love convenience. So it’s easy to comprehend the appeal of hearing aids that you can buy at your local pharmacy or store. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But this rosy vision of the future could call for further investigation.
A little caution is essential because over-the-counter hearing aids may start appearing in stores around you. And that puts lots of responsibility on consumers like you to know what’s what. If you don’t get it right your hearing could pay the price which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
What’s an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. So that they can counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are designed to amplify sound. In this manner, OTC hearing aids are better than they used to be.
But the process of choosing an OTC hearing aid is a little more complex than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. Here’s how it should work:
- You should get a hearing assessment and get an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your overall hearing health, such as what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
- You would then match your choice of hearing solution to your particular hearing loss. The fact is, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all forms of hearing impairment. In situations where they can, you’ll need to make certain you get as close to what you need as possible.
Theoretically, this strategy will help you choose a hearing device that’s correct for your amount of hearing loss and that will function well in all conditions. The real hassles can start when you actually go to your local store to try and buy the correct device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
This all seems pretty good, in theory. For some, OTC hearing aids will cut down on the costs involved and allow more people to enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is placed on the consumer is no joke.
Consumers will lose out on the following things if they decide to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- Adjustments: We can make a few kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a variety of common situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for noisier scenarios like crowded restaurants. This type of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be complicated to program. How to care for your hearing aid, how to use it effectively, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- A good fit: We help you pick out a style and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. Occasionally, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is crucial. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the various types of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your particular hearing needs.
- Testing: When you get fitted for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making certain it works as intended for you.
When you come see us for some hearing guidance, these are only some of the things we will help you with.
It’s worth pointing out that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that you should use a little caution when making your choices, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you get the care you need.